Interested in saving money by buying in bulk, but nervous about your ability to consume large amounts of foods before the expiration date rears its ugly head? I get it. Stocking up on staple ingredients is one of the best things you can do when it comes to mindful eating and meal prep, but you’re not helping anyone by buying more than you can reasonably consume.
Enter these grocery staples. Keeping products with long shelf lives on-hand will enable you to construct a tasty and varied roster of meals around them, all while reducing unnecessary food waste. Here are seven of those products to stock up on today.
1. Dried Beans
Dried beans are the ultimate product to buy in bulk, because they have a shelf-life listed as indefinite. However, they will begin to lose moisture around two years after their best-by date has passed. Don’t worry, though—that just means you’ll have to soak them a little longer, so they can reabsorb moisture when you finally get around to preparing them.
2. Peanut Butter
Natural peanut butter is the exception here, because it will expire after two to three months in the pantry or three to six months in the refrigerator. Other smooth and crunchy peanut butter varieties will keep for much longer—all the way up to a year past its printed date.
3. Coconut Oil
4. Lentils and Peas
Much like beans, legumes such as dried lentils and peas have exceptionally long shelf-lives. As in, they won’t expire, if you store them properly.
5. Rolled Oats
The shelf-life of oats, like most other foods, will depend on the variety and brand of the oats you purchase, but as a rule of thumb, a properly stored package of rolled oats will last for about 18 to 24 months at room temp. Once you prepare it, try to eat any leftovers within 48 hours.
6. Dried Fruits
Mix and match here. While buying frozen berries and veggies will also help ensure that your produce doesn’t spoil before you’re ready to eat it, most dried fruits have a shelf-life of about one year at 60ºF after you open the package. Most dried veggies will last about half of that time, except for carrots, which can last longer.
In theory, most fermented foods—things like sauerkraut, pickles and kimchi—have an incredibly long shelf-life. We’re talking years. The fermentation process was borne out of a need for a better system of food preservation, after all. For your typical grocery store purchased fermented foods, you’re looking at a shelf-life of anywhere between four and 18 months.
Are there any foods with long shelf lives that you like to stock up on? Share your favorites in the comments.
Related at Care2
Images via Getty